Canada Lagging Behind G8 In Space Capabilities



    CAW and Rideau Institute Report Details Key Federal Investment
    Opportunities

    OTTAWA, June 4 /CNW/ - The Canadian Auto Workers union and the Rideau
Institute released a report today that outlined key investments for Canada to
rebuild its lagging space capabilities.
    "This report outlines investment opportunities that could yield
significant economic return to Canada, and ensure the sustainability of our
high tech space sector," said Carol Phillips, assistant to CAW national
president. "We have tremendously talented workers in this country who are
producing state-of-the-art space technology. We need to ensure those jobs stay
in Canada."
    "Flying High: A Plan to Rebuild Canada's Space Capabilities is a
well-researched document that provides the federal government with strategic
space investment opportunities so that Canada could finally catch up with its
G8 partners in five years' time," said the Rideau Institute's Steven Staples.
    Written by David Macdonald for the Canadian Auto Workers union and the
Rideau Institute Flying High: A Plan to Rebuild Canada's Space Capabilities'
main findings are as follows:

    
    1.  The Canadian space sector requires $1.53 billion in new funding over
        5 years to rebuild Canada's space capabilities.

    2.  Canada's funding of its space sector is the second lowest amongst G8
        countries as a percentage of GDP, and is less than half of the G8
        average.

    3.  The Canadian Space Agency budget has remained virtually unchanged
        since 2001, at approximately $300 million per year, while shortfalls
        and delays have resulted in "phantom" budget growth and risk eroding
        existing programs.

    4.  The Canadian Space Agency needs leadership after having three
        presidents in only three years.
    

    According to the report, the prevention of the sale of MacDonald,
Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to Minnesota-based arms manufacturer
Alliant Techsystems (ATK) was a critical step in the preservation of the
Canadian space industry. To enhance the role of the Canadian Space Agency and
ensure stability and future success for the industry and workers involved in
the space sector, the federal government needs to establish a coherent
national space policy.
    Today's report seeks to provide guidance to the federal government on
ensuring that Canada's space sector remains competitive on a global stage.
Flying High: A Plan to Rebuild Canada's Space Capabilities noted that there is
an urgent need for Canada to take the following actions if we are to create a
strong and sustainable space industry in this country:

    
    1.  Fund the RADARSAT Constellation Mission: Following the recent success
        of RADARSAT-2, this is a vital next step to preserve relevant
        technical expertise in Canada.
    2.  Bring in a permanent CSA president: After having had three presidents
        in three years, the Canadian Space Agency needs stability to build
        its long-term vision.
    3.  Emphasize Space in the Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy:
        Defence contract offsets can be directed to the space sector.
    4.  Negotiate stronger ITAR exemptions for Canadian companies: Canadian
        companies need exemptions from U.S. export restrictions in order to
        work more closely with American partners.
    5.  Create a Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) space
        commercialization project: Industry Canada has specialized R&D
        programs for certain industries, and one of those industries should
        be space.
    6.  Develop a National Space Policy: It is critical that the CSA develop
        a long-term vision of where it wants to go and what projects it wants
        to be involved in.
    7.  Commit to cutting-edge missions: There is a wealth of new and
        exciting projects, including rover robotics, lunar exploration and
        missions to Mars. The CSA simply needs to define its role and draw on
        additional resources to be part of this new frontier.
    8.  Fund the CSA to the G8 Average: The above recommendations are not
        possible without additional support from the federal government that
        would put Canada at the 2007 G8 space spending-to-GDP average by
        2012. Additional spending of $1.53 billion over five years is vital
        to maintaining and expanding Canada's space industry.
    

    The CAW represents workers at MDA facilities at Brampton, Ontario and
St. Anne de Bellevue, Québec.

    The Rideau Institute is an independent research, advocacy, and consulting
group based in Ottawa. It is a federally registered non-profit organization,
established in January 2007.

    The full report is available at www.rideauinstitute.ca





For further information:

For further information: CAW: Carol Phillips, (416) 561-7427 (cell);
Dawn Cartwright, (416) 917-7220 (cell); Rideau Institute: Steven Staples,
(613) 290-2695 (cell)

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Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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